Women’s Health – Menopause
The menopause is defined as the end of the last menstrual period, starting usually between the mid 40’s to early 50’s. This stage of gradually falling and fluctuating hormone levels is called perimenopause, which can last upwards of two years before a woman’s final period. For most women symptoms end at menopause, however for some, symptoms can continue into postmenopausal life.
While you may be able to go through the menopausal transition without incident, you may experience some combination of symptoms, changes or pain.
Fortunately, as menopausal symptoms are a consequence of fluctuations in hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, it is possible to find options for treatment. If HRT is not on the top of your list at the moment, we at Shine may have help at hand.
How can we help you?
Hormones play a significant part during our lives, the switching on and equally the switching off can play havoc not only physically but also emotionally. Lifestyle changes can have a positive effect, adding movement and exercise and getting some much needed support or nurturing may pay dividends at this time of change.
Complementary treatment options involve little or no risk and may be an effective way to treat the changes and symptoms of menopause. Herbal supplements are the most prominent, though in addition you may look at trying treatments such as acupuncture, massage, or reflexology to help with increasing relaxation and reducing tension.
Menopause Herbal advice from Lloyd
Menopause is a time of change. Though many women do suffer unpleasant symptoms during menopause, it can be a time of positive change. There is plenty of evidence which shows that preparing for mid-life with a good diet, lifestyle and exercise programme will greatly improve the way women experience menopause and beyond.
Menopause literally means stopping menstruation. Hormonal changes start a number of years before this and these fluctuations can continue for quite a few years into the menopause. The term peri-menopausal is often used to define the period of change before menopause and this is a good time to seek support. Once you’ve gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you’ve officially reached menopause.
The level of your oestrogen — the main female hormone — rises and falls unevenly during peri-menopause. Your menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten, and you may begin having menstrual cycles in which your ovaries don’t release an egg (ovulate). You may also experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and weight gain.
Menopause should be viewed as a normal transition. However women often need some extra support through nutrition, herbs and maybe emotional support to both reduce unpleasant symptoms and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease in the longer term.
Herbal treatment is quite different to the medical approach where HRT is used to replace lost hormones. There are herbs with oestrogen-like effects, but unlike the synthetic oestrogens used in HRT, these are very mild and gently stimulate oestrogen receptors and are useful to help hormone modulation until the symptoms of the transition phase have ceased.
Combinations of herbs are normally given by a herbalist to take into account symptoms that can include hot flushes, depression, blood pressure changes, joint pain, exhaustion and crawling skin. This can be quite a complex process and requires a good deal of knowledge of the herbs and of the best therapeutic dose for each person. Over-the counter products are often not effective as they are not individualised and many contain herbs in quantities that are below the therapeutic dose range. Also many of the herbs that herbalists use now have to be prescribed by a herbal practitioner and are not available over-the-counter.
If you feel the need for support, nutrition and lifestyle advice and good herbal medicines to help you both prepare for transition and help you through the menopause, then please book an appointment with one of our practitioners.